December 6 2011 FEA Europe Update

1. December Holidays Lessons & Resources
2. Debt Letters
3. Area Directors' Travels
4. FEHB Open Season
5. Great News About DDESS
6. FEA President Visits
7. Advanced Ed Visits
8. Interactive Advent Calendar
9. Nomination Deadline
10. Happy Holidays !
11. Mark Your Calendars
12. Update

1. December Holidays Lessons & Resources - Celebrate the holiday season and learn how others celebrate with these lessons and resources for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ashura, Pongal, and New Years. This site (attached) courtesy of NEA covers most holidays in December and has activities for each. For those followers of Seinfeld I am afraid that Festivus is not included.

2. Debt Letters -- I had thought that this was slowing down but I was wrong as I discovered in my travels last week. DFAS is still issuing debt letters at an astounding rate. If you find one of these in your stocking on December 25 please remember to follow all guidance that has been issued on how to proceed. If you are unsure contact your FRS who has a copy of the pay problem package that our attorney Bill Freeman has put together for our use.

3. Area Directors' Travels -- This past week I joined Michael Priser on the road in Bitburg, Spangdahlem, Kaiserslautern, and Baumholder. On Wednesday, December 7, I will be visiting the Bamberg schools and on Thursday the 8th will be hosting Michael in Vilseck. Next week I will be in Wiesbaden on the 14th for the Area JCC. Lisa will be in the Lakenheath complex and will join us for the JCC via VTC.

4. FEHB Open Season - Open season for your Federal Employee Health Benefits in 2012 is now open until December 12, 2011. You should have received a number of announcements regarding open season. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website to assist you with your decision for the upcoming season: This will be the last time that we can remind you. If you are planning changes please do so now.

5. Great News About DDESS -- This news was posted on the FEA website on December 2, 2011. I felt that I wanted to share it with all since had this amendment become law it would have adversely impacted all DoDEA schools.
"The threat to close DDESS schools has been averted yet again!
Yesterday (December 1) we reported that our DDESS schools were under threat 
from a pair of proposed amendments to the DoD Authorization Act. The amendments sought to either close DDESS schools outright or conduct yet another study into their value. We all know that DDESS schools provide
an excellent education and are a fantastic quality of life perk for
 military families at bases with DDESS schools.
Fortunately, neither of
 the proposed amendments affecting DDESS were included in the final DoD
 Authorization Act bill, so for now at least, the threat to DDESS schools has passed.
A very big thanks goes to our NEA lobbying team for their
 work to convince Senators of the need to maintain, not destroy, our
 DDESS schools. We will of course remain vigilant against future efforts 
to balance the budget on the backs of military dependents and their
 families. For now though, let's celebrate this very good news!"

6. FEA President Visits -- FEA President Michael Priser has been visiting many schools and complexes since November 28. He has been speaking both at schools and at after school events. All have been well organized and well attended. His remaining schedule is below:
Wednesday, December 7, Hohenfels complex

Thursday, December 8, Vilseck

Friday , December 9, Grafenwoehr/Netzaburg

Monday, December 12, Bamberg

(Tuesday, December 13, Advisory Council on Dependent Education teleconference -- no school visits

Wednesday, December 14, Schweinfurt

Thursday, December 15, Wiesbaden complex

7. Advanced Ed Visits - This is from the Area JCC of April 2009. As schools begin planning for their visits I believe that it is worth mentioning again. From FEA: " An ongoing concern of the Association is the amount of extra time and work that NCA/QAR visits (and other monitorings) cause for teachers. One task that may be unnecessary for these visits is the making and giving of "gift bag/baskets" to the visiting team. The Association would like to note for the record, the following excerpt from the Advanced Ed guidelines: "Please note that team members are not allowed to accept gifts from the school (school pens, pads of papers, and other items to assist the team with their work are acceptable to provide)."
DoDEA Reply: There is no DoDDS-E expectation or direction that gift bags, baskets or other special welcome items be prepared by teachers.

8. Interactive Advent Calendar -- The calendar that can be found at this link: is loaded with fun activities for students and adults alike. It will only allow you to open one window a day but most are worth the wait. A special thanks to Frau Dorothee Baer, Host Nation teacher at Vilseck ES, for finding and sharing this link.

9. Nomination Deadline -- For anyone interested in running for one of the FEA Europe positions -- District Representative, European Human and Civil Rights Coordinator, or District Civil Rights Coordinator -- please be aware that all nominations need to be post marked by December 9. More information is available in the most recent edition of the Unity or from your FRS
Also, if you are interested in running for election as an FEA European State Delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly in Washington, D.C., this summer the deadline for nominations is also December 9. We would like to encourage some ‘new faces' to run for these positions. It is a very worthwhile experience.

10. Happy Holidays ! -- At this point since this is my last Update of 2011 I would like to take a moment to extend my Best Wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year. You work hard all year and this coming week is a time to recharge batteries and relax and enjoy. Here's hoping that however you celebrate this season it turns out to be all you could have hoped for and more. See you in 2012 !

11. Mark Your Calendars -
December 9 -- Deadline for Nominations for District Representative and RA Delegate to be postmarked (see #9 above)
December 10 -- Human Rights Day
December 17 -- January 2 - Winter Recess

12. Update - Lisa will be sending out the next Update on December 14. This will be the last Update for 2011, which I find amazing. I will be back on January 4, 2012 with the first Update of the New Year. In the meantime stay informed on any developments by visiting This is as always the best place to visit for accurate and up to the minute information.


Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051